04
Nov
08

Links para hoje | Links for today


Roussel slide

A story has a beginning, a middle, and a cleanly wrapped-up ending. Whether told around a campfire, read from a book, or played on a DVD, a story goes from point A to B and then C. It follows a trajectory, a Freytag Pyramid—perhaps the line of a human life or the stages of the hero’s journey. A story is told by one person or by a creative team to an audience that is usually q

uiet, even receptive. Or at least that’s what a story used to be, and that’s how a story used to be told. Today, with digital networks and social media, this pattern is changing. Stories now are open-ended, branching, hyperlinked, cross-media, participatory, exploratory, and unpredictable. And they are told in new ways: Web 2.0 storytelling picks up these new types of stories and runs with them, accelerating the pace of creation and participation while revealing new directions for narratives to flow.

I‘ve been pondering that titular mantra for while now. I’ve got to the point where I’m wondering whether my focus on the idea that the web will not just simply cough up a story is really about a broader shift in mindset that journalists need to make or more about me getting my head around the process.

So I’m posting this to get it out of my head.

It got in my head again at the end of last week as I found myself eavesdropping on a group of students sat at their computers.

“I need to do a search for a story for my portfolio assignment” says one student who then proceeds to fire up a collection of news sites including the BBC and a number of

different local news providers.

Frustrating as I find this behaviour sometimes, I know it’s not limited to students.

Reverse engineering stories – finding an article online and then unpicking the threads – is more common than I think any of us a prepared to admit. Is that a bad thing? Maybe not, but it happens. But that’s not finding a story, it’s just (re)reporting the story for your audience. It’s also a mono-media approach to the journalistic process. Everything is geared towards servicing an article at a publication point.

A few notes upon reflection about the New Business Models for News Summit at CUNY:

* A few days after the conference, David Carr in the New York Times piled on the lamentations about more layoffs and cutbacks in the news business. On the Media continued the dirge a few days after that. There’s no news here. The industry is shrinking. We already know that.

There’s news in reporting on people who are trying to do something about it and create new models and enterprises for news. Those are the folks we had at the conference.

With the violently agitated context of so many platforms and of a potentially unlimited supply of agents, how do we update the definition of journalism? Where do craft or trade begin, where do they end? Inevitably, the profession reacts by circling the wagons, hoping to hold its own against hordes of writers now fragmenting what used to be cozily monolithic, easily understood audiences.  This is the time, more than ever, to revisit notions such as news reporting and news treatment.  This rethinking can’t be centered around yesterday’s corporatism, or legal definitions.  Instead, we must look at the following three concepts:
-    ethics
-    practices
-    training
We could also mention types of journalism, nature of the players, media…

The Obama presidential campaign has proved to be not only an example of how to run an effective campaign – but how to run an effective newsroom.  Obama’s focus on technology is key; by using email, Facebook, YouTube, text messages and a custom iPhone application he manages to stay in touch with staff and supporters.

obama text.jpgThe text messages are based on area code and update supporters of local campaign events, voter registration and other big news.  Imagine if newsrooms used this to alert reporters about breaking-news situations.


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